In our continuing Women in Business series, we chatted with Susanne Chishti CEO & Founder of FINTECH Circle.
Women in Fintech with Susanne Chishti
Susanne is a Senior Capital Markets Manager, Entrepreneur and Investor with strong financial services expertise aware of new trends across the Financial Services Technology (FinTech) sector, B2C and B2B growth opportunities and regulatory requirements. More than 14 years experience across Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Stanley and Accenture in London and Hong Kong.
Experienced leader and Non-Executive Director for FinTech Start-ups with positive “can do” attitude and enthusiasm to solve complex capital markets challenges. Focus on corporate strategy, finance and the successful launch of innovative products and services while providing access to senior leaders in the City/Canary Wharf for investment (angel investors) and business advise (Non-Executive Directors).
“In front of our eyes a new industry is being built which will revolutionize how we bank, pay, invest and trade with other consumers and businesses worldwide. You have the choice of sitting on the sidelines and watch how FINTECH will change your personal and professional life. But you can also get ahead of the game by becoming involved, building up your expertise and potentially invest into the next Apples, Paypals and Googles which are being founded in the UK today.” Susanne Chishti
What is Fintech Circle?
FINTECH Circle is Europe’s 1st angel network focused on fintech investments, thus all our investors have strong finance/tech backgrounds and we only invest in fintech companies. Our focus is seed/early stage investments for funding rounds of between £100K to £500K.
FINTECH firms can apply online for funding and FINTECH angels can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org We also run the leading fintech network on Linked In with more than 4,000 global members consisting of investors, entrepreneurs, fintech thought leaders and innovators. You can join our FINTECH Circle group online and follow us on Twitter.
What is Fintech Circle’s investment philosophy?
We define FINTECH widely and are interested in fintech solutions across retail banking, corporate and investment banking, asset management, transaction banking, private wealth management, insurance, finance regulation, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. We are interested in “disruptive” fintech firms who have come up with new business & revenue models with the intention to take away market share from existing players and also “traditional” fintech firms whose goal it is to sell their services and solutions into established players.
What investments has it made?
FINTECH Circle angel investors have made several investments including AlgoDynamix (Algorithmic big data risk analytics company empowers asset managers to preserve capital nominated by the UK Business Angels Association as “Best Disruptive Investment of the Year” http://www.algodynamix.com/), Fourex (Money Exchange Specialists & Winner of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group Competition: Pitch to Rich), Divido (Online instalment payments Firm http://divido.co/) and HubExchange (Private Online Exchange for the New Economy; www.thehub.exchange)
What are your investment deal-breakers?
FINTECH Circle uses a multi-stage selection process. Stage 1 is the submission of the fintech firm’s executive summary, investor presentation and 3 min founders video to provide an elevator pitch and the completion of our application form online. We review all submitted documentation against our criteria including the strength of the team, product/services, market size, traction achieved, route to market strategy, valuation etc. The top 10 companies who passed stage 1 are then invited to Stage 2, our FINTECH Circle Selection Day. During this day they present in person to our Selection Panel made up of experts across fintech. The top 6 companies who pass the Selection Day and are then invited to a FINTECH Circle Coaching Day where we help them with practice pitch training to get ready for the actual Angel Network Evening where they will present to FINTECH Circle Angel Investors.
One piece of advice to an angel-in-training?
First, for your angel investments focus on those areas where you personally have strong expertise in so that you can judge better which firms/opportunities have strong potential and also you will be able to provide your knowledge/guidance and contacts to your invested companies providing “smart money” to them. Secondly, don’t invest on your own but join an angel network which matches your interest so that you can discuss opportunities with like-minded investors and co-invest alongside others. Thirdly, the saying to “never put all your eggs in one basket” is so important, diversification is crucial. Thus start out slowly by observing other deals/investors and then when you start investing, try to allocate your available funds across at least 10–20 investments over 5 years. Finally angel investments should be fun and a great opportunity for you to really help the best entrepreneurs building up successful businesses globally!
One piece of advice to an entrepreneur looking for capital?
Be prepared and show your passion/expertise how you will solve a big problem in the market. Be clear on your strategy, show traction and have all your paperwork ready before approaching investors.
What challenges did you face as a woman in business?
Unfortunately both the finance and tech sectors totally lack diversity. As women we face numerous challenges such as not having enough female role models in senior positions, always being the minority in meetings, events and conferences being overlooked for promotions or bonuses when we have children, lack of female politicians and lack female investors and entrepreneurs.
Why aren’t there more female angels?
I have met many outstanding female investors running large investment portfolios at leading asset managers. Women tend to be very good investors. In the UK we have seen the number or angel investors slowly increase but it’s still a very small number which we can hopefully increase going forward.
Do we need special funds for women owned startups?
Yes, the more funds female entrepreneurs have access to, the better.
What do you do for fun?
Spending quality time with my family and friends, yoga, skiing in Austria and reading.